Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars – A Healthy Treat

by on October 9, 2011

Everywhere you look there’s something pumpkin flavored this time of year. I’m a pumpkin lover so this works in my favor. Naturally I take advantage of the season by indulging in all things pumpkin and last night I came up with another favorite recipe to add to my collection – pumpkin bars with chocolate chunks!

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I found several pumpkin bar recipes online and decided to make a healthy(ish) version with the Ghirardelli Intense Dark chocolate I was sent to review as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. Sea salt and dark chocolate are quite the tasty little pair and with roasted almonds added to the mix, it’s pretty much chocolate heaven.

Ghiardelli Sea Salt Soriee Chocolate.JPG

Needless to say this chocolate is fabulous on it’s own, but I knew it would be quite tasty in a pumpkin bar recipe as well. For the record, I was correct.

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If you only make one pumpkin flavored thing this fall, these chocolate chunk pumpkin bars should definitely be it. They’re like pumpkin bread, but in bar form. They have the perfect amount of spice and the dark chocolate adds a rich sweetness to each bite.

Seriously, they are so good! I literally couldn’t keep my hands off them and ate one with every meal on Friday – including breakfast. Luckily I took most of them to Isaac’s parents’ house for dessert on Friday night so they won’t be sitting around tempting me anymore.
Although indulging in these bars isn’t so bad because they are healthier than your average cookie bar. Not only is pumpkin high in fiber and vitamins but I only used one Tablespoon of oil and substituted natural apple sauce and fat-free Greek yogurt for the rest of the fat. I also used whole wheat pastry flour instead of white and dark chocolate instead of milk. Gotta love getting your antioxidants in the form of dark chocolate!

Chocolate Chunk Pumpkin Bars

Makes about 15-20 squares

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour **
  • 1 Tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup sugar (I used sucanat)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/4 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup pumpkin, canned or fresh that’s been roasted and pureed
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate, cut into small chunks (or chocolate chips)

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Spray 13 x 9 pan with non-stick spray.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients – flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl mix sugar, apple sauce, yogurt, oil, egg whites, and vanilla until well combined. Stir in pumpkin.
  5. Slowly pour flour mix into the wet ingredients and mix well until everything is combined. Stir in chocolate chunks.
  6. Pour dough evenly into the greased pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean when stuck into the middle of the bars (about 30 minutes).
  7. Cool completely, cut and lift from pan. Enjoy!

**Whole wheat pastry flour is finely ground and makes lighter baked goods than normal whole wheat flour does. You can’t find whole wheat pastry flour at your local grocery store you can simply use all-purpose flour or 1 cup of whole wheat and 1 cup of all-purpose. It might change the consistency of the bars a little bit, but I think it should work fine.

Once you’ve had one bite, you’ll know why I was so excited about sharing this little recipe.

chocolate chunk pumpkin bars.JPG

As I mentioned before, the nutrition facts aren’t too shabby either.

chocolate chunk pumpkin bars nutrition.png

In other news, I had a few exciting things happen this week. The first is that EBF was featured on Fitness Magazine’s FitStop – Fit Blogger We Love Series. And secondly, EBF was nominated for SHAPE magazine’s blogger awards in the Healthy Bloggers category. I am absolutely honored to be nominated in the same category with such amazing and inspiring bloggers. If you’d like to help make my dream come true of winning the award, you can vote on the SHAPE website. It’s really easy, only takes 2 seconds and you don’t have to register.

I’ll be back soon with an update on my first Yom Kippur fasting experience. Have a lovely Sunday.

{ 43 comments… read them below or add one }

elise October 9, 2011 at 12:32 am

yum! totally bookmarked this guy.

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Krystina (Organically Me) October 9, 2011 at 1:08 am

Yum! Sea salt chocolate is a great addition.

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Emily October 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

Yumm I love pumpkin and dark chocolate! Wonder if I can make this gluten free :)

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Elizabeth October 9, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I was thinking that this would be good as gluten free. I will probably try it with a rice or bean flour and quinoa flour mix and maybe reduce the sugar. The strong flavours of the pumpkin and the chocolate should be very good.

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Eating Bird Food October 9, 2011 at 8:15 pm

Definitely let me know if you ladies end up making a gluten free version! :)

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Michelle (Peachy Palate) October 9, 2011 at 7:37 am

I’m all about pumpkin this weekend, I’ve made cookies, muffins, salad, a smoothie and oats! These look amazing though I will have to give them a go…maybe next weekend though! :)

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Eating Bird Food October 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm

I’m right there with you – it’s been pumpkin everything lately at my house too.

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Michelle (Peachy Palate) October 10, 2011 at 1:34 am

It’s a just a bit of a pain since we can’t get canned pumpkin here, I’ve made my way through one large pumpkin in a weekend, I’m at risk of turning in to a pumpkin!

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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes October 9, 2011 at 7:42 am

Great recipe for fall….or anytime! YUM :D

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Lauren October 9, 2011 at 7:49 am

These look awesome! I have been drooling over all of the pumpkin inspired desserts these days.

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Jenn @ Lotus and Pie October 9, 2011 at 8:51 am

I am very excited to try Pumpkin Spice! I am an Aussie living in London and not one, but two of my friends have just visited the local Canadian store in Covent Garden to pick me up some pumpkin spice. YAY!

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Gina @ Running to the Kitchen October 9, 2011 at 10:01 am

These look delicious! I made a pumpkin oat/ chocolate bar last week and they disappeared in a matter of days. I’m convinced anything you put the sea salt soiree in has got to be good ;)

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Kelly @ Foodie Fiasco October 9, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Congragulations, Brittany! Best of luck on the award. ;) Those pumpkin bars look amazing! If I vegani-ize them, do you want me to let you know? I want to eat them! :)

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Eating Bird Food October 9, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Thank you so much Kelly!

Yes, please do let me know if you end up making a vegan version – it shouldn’t be too difficult. Just use a replacement for the egg whites, like a flax egg and coconut or soy based yogurt. :)

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Ali October 9, 2011 at 1:55 pm

What a great combination! I have also posted your site to my blog roll ;).

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Eating Bird Food October 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

Thank you so much Ali. I really appreciate it!

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Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers October 9, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Mmmm – that’s a really good looking treat!

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Susan October 9, 2011 at 8:26 pm

These are in the oven as we speak! I am anxiously anticipating these treats, which combine some of my favorite flavors:) What a way to cap off a weekend of visiting the pumpkin patch and the orchard.

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Lisa@ChocolatePBCups October 9, 2011 at 11:58 pm

This looks so yummy! I love dark chocolate :)

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Miri October 10, 2011 at 5:42 am

could I use one whole egg instead of 2 egg whites? (I’m pathetically bad at separating eggs…)?

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Eating Bird Food October 10, 2011 at 8:13 am

I think that sub would be fine. :)

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Miri October 10, 2011 at 8:38 am

great :)!

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Kate October 10, 2011 at 8:01 am

congratulations on your nomination & those bars look fabulous I love pumpkin + chocolate!

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Jenn (eating bender) October 10, 2011 at 11:20 am

This looks incredible! Definitely going to have to try out the recipe – that Ghirardelli sea salt makes my mouth water just looking at it. ;) Congrats on the Fit Stop feature in addition to your SHAPE nomination. I can’t tell you how happy I was to read/see both of them. You are an amazing blogger!

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Eating Bird Food October 11, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thank you so much Jenn. That means a lot coming from you!

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Joy October 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm

That looks wonderful.

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jessie ann james October 10, 2011 at 1:03 pm

these look delicious! Thank you so much for posting this i cant wait to try it:) I love all things pumpkin and throw in chocolate I may just die! if you get a chance, check out my site at http://www.jessieannjames.com/?page_id=12 Im kinda new at this so id love your thought!

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Amy October 11, 2011 at 1:09 pm

oh my these look awesome! Im pinning this bad boy!

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Christi October 11, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Thank you for posting this recipe. I have such a sweet tooth but am disappointed with most of the low calorie sweets I make. I love that these use all “real” ingredients. I made them but halved the recipe and used organic dark chocolate chips and they were delicious. I just ate one with a little true whip and cinnamon on top with my afternoon coffee and was very pleased that for only 130 calories these were so good. I also appreciate you calculating the calories correctly. So often I make something and then figure out after eating them that the calorie count was way off. However, I figured these for 9 nine servings after halving the ingredients and they were exactly 130 calories each. Definitely a keeper!

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Melanie Rice October 20, 2011 at 6:33 pm

do you have any recommended substitutes for the yogurt?? thanks!

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Eating Bird Food October 20, 2011 at 9:34 pm

I think you could skip using the yogurt and just use 1/4 cup of canola oil instead of 1 Tablespoon and it would come out fine. :) Hope that helps!

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amymac November 14, 2011 at 10:45 am

just made these yesterday and they are delicious! this recipe is definitely a keeper – thank you! ~amy

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Vicky November 19, 2011 at 12:19 am

I just got done making these. I couldn’t even wait for them to cool all the way before I took a small bite. These are uh-mazing!!! Thanks for this recipe!

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Eating Bird Food November 19, 2011 at 8:38 am

So glad that you liked them Vicky!

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Kim M. November 21, 2011 at 11:53 pm

I made these last night for snacks for the week. They are WONDERFUL! Thanks!

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Eating Bird Food November 22, 2011 at 7:02 am

So glad you liked the pumpkin bar Kim! Thank you for coming back and leaving a comment to let me know! :)

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Mel March 13, 2012 at 12:28 pm

I made these as muffins- divine! Made half without chocolate and used craisins instead- hubby doesn’t like chocolate! He loved them and my kids loved thecones with the chocolate!!! Delish!!!!!

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Eating Bird Food March 14, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Hi Mel. I’m so glad they turned out well as muffins!!

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snenny April 9, 2012 at 5:21 am

I made these this morning as a bit of a cheeky decadent post-Easter brunch, and they turned out beautifully! Made them in two 7x15cm cake tins, as I didn’t have the larger 13×9 inch pan, thinking I’d have plenty left over for snacks/breakfasts on the go for the coming week, but it was so well received I’ve got one slice left… and I don’t see it lasting long.

Thanks for an awesome recipe Brit <3 A new fave!

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Eating Bird Food April 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm

So glad you liked these bars – they’re one of my favorites. And thank you for coming back to leave a comment. I really appreciate it.

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Susan Pelizzaro September 17, 2012 at 8:18 am

Hi Brittany, can raw sugar be used in place of sucanat? I’m not familiar with sucanat and I’m new to baking with raw sugar. The brand I have is Sugar In The Raw.
Thanks! Love your blog :)
Susan

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Brittany Mullins September 17, 2012 at 9:16 am

Thanks Susan. Sugar in the raw will work. Sucanat is whole cane sugar that has a molasses flavor to it. Here’s more info about it – http://www.wholesomesweeteners.com/brands/Wholesome_Sweeteners/Fair_Trade_Certified_Organic_Sucanat.html

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Cameron February 28, 2014 at 6:45 pm

Hi there, I read your blogs on a regular basis. Your story-telling
style is awesome, keep up the good work!

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